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Bal Harbour hopes to convince utilities to use less permanent paint

Bal Harbour hopes to convince utility companies to switch to a chalk-based paint when marking streets and sidewalks — rather than the longer-lasting variety currently in use.

By Rodolfo Roman

Special to the Miami Herald

Bal Harbour wants to start a pilot program to convince utility companies to use chalk-based paint for construction site markings, instead of the more permanent paint now used.

“These markings take months to fade, and are often marked over again with fresh paint,” said Jay Smith, village outreach community director.

Utility companies working in the village often paint on sidewalks even after the digging portion is complete Smith said.

Bal Harbour, along with other communities, has already called for contractors to use the chalk-based marking products instead of water- or solvent-based products. The chalk based marking product typically last 7 to 10 days, less if it’s rainy.

Other products tend to last months depending on pigment color. For example, red is the strongest pigment and could last a year or longer.

Village Manager Alfred Treppeda has approved the pilot program, but the village would need to get utility companies on board. FP&L and AT&T are expected to give the village a decision this month.

The village council has little say on the markings, since their use is governed by Florida statute, Smith said.

Bal Harbour can suggest public companies like FP&L use chalk-based products, but the village can’t make it mandatory. But the village can require it in their contracts when dealing with privately owned companies like Atlantic Broadband.

There is an abundance of markings on village sidewalks and streets, said Jeffries.

“You do not have to look hard to find them, just about every street corner will have some markings present,” he said.

Chalk-based paint is more compared to those currently used — about $4 per can versus $3, said Gregory Jeffries, Bal Harbour’s engineer.

Bal Harbour engineers recently started using chalk-based products, in hopes of setting a trend.

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